Today we’re going to hear a sermon that was first preached on 13 January 1980, at Trinity Presbyterian Church, in Montgomery, by my pastor, Dr. Robert J. Ostenson, whom we fondly called Dr. O. I preached another of his sermons from Daniel 3 a year ago, here, which got some good feedback. And it was recently requested of me to preach another.
Now, if you don’t remember (or are new), my parents first heard Dr. O preach in 1974—his first Sunday at Trinity. It also happened to be their first time to visit the church. After hearing Dr. O’s sermon, my dad was hooked. He says he’d never heard preaching like that before, and he wanted more of it. So, they joined the church, which had just broken from the old denomination, as part of the new denomination, the PCA. Over the years, Dad collected many of Dr. O’s sermons on cassette tape (which date from March 1975 to January 1985), and he listened to them over and over to where some of the tapes were pretty worn out. As a labor of love, a few years back, I converted all the viable tapes (97 sermons) to digital and posted them on my website.
As Dr. O opened this series on Daniel 1-6, he said,
“Now, Lord willing, we’re going to devote the next several Sunday mornings to a study of this important book. Not to be sensational, but because this is part of God’s whole counsel unto men; because Daniel is part of God’s infallible Word; and because this book contains spiritual truth that is not only illuminating to our minds, but it is comforting and it is challenging to believers who live in this 20th century.”
Forty-one years after these sermons were first preached, Dr. O’s insights for the 20th century church in the U.S. (drawn from the goings-ons in the 6th cent. B.C. Babylon) continue to speak the truth to us in 2021. You’ll probably catch some of the dated aspects of Dr. O’s message, speaking directly to the world situation when he preached (something that is constantly changing), but the main thrust of his message remains apt and applicable to us. It’s a remarkable thing, and I hope you’re blessed by it.
And while the PCA mostly uses the ESV, these days, note that Dr. O used the KJV, so that is the version I’m using today.
So, hear the words from the past, on the words from the ancient past, speaking to us today.
Daniel 1:8-18 (KJV)
8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. 9 Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs. 10 And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king. 11 Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12 Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink. 13 Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants. 14 So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days. 15 And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat. 16 Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.
17 As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. 18 Now at the end of the days that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar.
Dr. Robert J. Ostenson
“Four Who Said ‘No’”
One of the most neglected books of the Bible is the Book of Daniel. Modern critical scholarship has done its very best to do away with and disprove this book, largely because of the great prophecies that are found in this book. Unbelief, which denies the supernatural, cannot condone the fact that this book reveals prophecies hundreds of years ahead of the time in which they were actually fulfilled. Unbelief, which does not believe that God has given his written Word to man, cannot accept the fact that God revealed to a man truth concerning historical events, which were to be fulfilled hundreds of years down the road. As a consequence, unbelief has denied the authorship by Daniel. It has tried to advance a later date of writing, saying that Daniel was written hundreds of years after the actual events had taken place.